Yesterday in my blog I told the story about cycling across the Ross Road which cuts across the South end of the island. Today by chance i had an opportunity to drive around the South End with a friend and back to Brodick by that self-same road who’s name has no connection with mine. As we drove we reflected on what it has meant to us to live on Arran – we came here about the same time, me to pursue my weaving and my friend to develop her career as a painter while she kept the wolf from the door by teaching art.
At the time we came, there had been a huge drop in population dating back to the Clearances when many Arranites lost their crofting tenancies and were forced to emigrate to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Job opportunities were practically non-existent in the farming industry and tourism beyond bed & breakfast was a little known concept.
My friend and I were part of a new mini-wave of young people who wanted to live on the land and develop craft and artistic skills. We coexisted with the local population, sent our kids to local school and worked hard with the Arran Heritage Project helping to collect information about the families that had lived on the island. The weaving below was part of a skills project that we worked together on with 3rd and 4th year pupils.
As we drove around in the late afternoon sunshine today the view was spectacular and there were primroses everywhere. We talked about the influence that Arran had on both our lives and the role that living on the island played in developing our adventurous, caring children. At times people could be very critical and quite outspoken about what they defined as “hippies” and sometimes it seemed that we had to be constantly on guard not to be hurt by judgmental attitudes. All of which contributed to become a much more tolerant person. There was no point in holding a grudge.
Today as we drove across the moors which show no signs of the spectacular mountains so nearby we took great contentment in the beauty of the place. We were able to laugh at the idea that someone would be considered an “incomer” after 36 years. I certainly don’t feel like one.
the Arran Heritage Tapestry
For more information about my art & textile work:
Websites I love:
Scottish Island Mum (especially Day 40)
Miracle Design (especially 2009)